What is protein?
Protein, also known as amino acids, are the building blocks of the human body. These amino acids aid in cellular maintenance, growth, repair, as well as hormone regulation. There are essential amino acids, and non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are not made by our bodies, meaning we have to find these sources through either animal or plant based foods. Where the non-essential acids are made by our bodies. The ketogenic diet consists of approximately 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbohydrates.
What happens when we eat too little or too much protein on the ketogenic diet?
When we consume too little protein on a ketogenic diet, this causes our bodies to begin utilizing not our ketones for energy, but begins breaking down and using our lean muscle mass in order to compensate for the lack of protein consumption. In return your blood ketone levels will be significantly elevated, however this is not the ideal way to obtain ketosis in a safe and healthy manner. In simple terms, this would be considered to be a “starvation ketosis state.”
Too much protein can cause your blood ketone levels to drop below 0.5 mM, affecting your ability to achieve ketosis. Why is this? Protein has a moderate insulin stimulating effect. Meaning, the excess protein we consume, leads to a process called gluconeogenesis. As we discussed previously, this is a process known to generate glucose from non-carbohydrate substances, such as excess protein.
Phinney, S., MD., PhD., Volek, J., PhD., RD., Volk, B., PhD., RD. (2018). How much protein do you need in nutritional ketosis? Retrieved from https://www.virtahealth.com/blog/how-much-protein-on-keto
Easy Keto Friendly snacks!